Harriet’s peers: eight more grads make Top 100 list

Harriet Lewis wasn’t the only York grad to make this year’s Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 list.

Eight other grads joined Lewis, York University secretary & general counsel (see YFile, Nov. 30), on the Women’s Executive Network’s eighth annual Top 100 list recognizing proven achievers in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, announced Nov. 29 at an awards gala in Toronto. Four of the eight work in the public sector. Here is the honour roll:

Ann Buller (Cisco Public Sector Leaders category)

Ann Buller (BA ’95), president and CEO of Centennial College, has worked for more than 20 years in the college system, leading major initiatives that demonstrate her commitment to economic and social inclusion.

Buller (right) started her career at Centennial College then joined Nova Scotia Community College as vice-president academic and chief learning officer. In 2004, she returned to Centennial as president.

In 2005, impressed by her project HYPE (Helping Youth Pursue Education), then Toronto mayor David Miller selected her to chair the Governing Toronto Panel that recommended how to structure governmental powers under the province’s new City of Toronto Act. She went on become a member of the Board of Trade and vice-chair of the Invest Toronto Board.

She has earned awards for leadership and advocacy for women and girls. She has also earned numerous college marketing awards and awards of excellence for student retention. 

Laura Formusa (Cisco Public Sector Leaders category)

Laura Formusa (LLB ’78) is president and chief executive officer of Hydro One Inc. This is the third consecutive year she has been named to the Women’s Executive Network’s Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 list.

Formusa (left) joined Ontario Hydro in 1980 as a lawyer and held progressively senior positions until being appointed Hydro One’s general counsel and secretary in 2003. She has been president of Hydro One Inc. since 2007.

Under her leadership, the company has completed substantial infrastructure improvements, including the installation of more than one million smart meters across the province. In 2009, Hydro One received approval for the Bruce-to-Milton Transmission Reinforcement Project, one of the largest transmission projects under way in North America.

Formusa is a tireless advocate for diversity, removing barriers in the workplace for visible minorities and women. Her efforts saw the company ranked as the number 1 corporate citizen in Canada in 2009 on the Corporate Knights annual ranking. She is also a founding member of the Women of Energy group to advance women’s issues and create critical networking opportunities for high-potential women in the energy sector.  

Patricia Graham (Xstrata Nickel Trailblazers & Trendsetters category)

Patricia Graham (LLB ’74) is the editor-in-chief of The Vancouver Sun and vancouversun.com. She was also named to the Top 10 list in 2006.

Graham (right) practised law for four years before becoming a newspaper reporter in 1980. She has worked as a reporter, copy editor, editorial writer, editorial page editor and senior newsroom manager for publications including The Globe and Mail. She joined Pacific Press (now Pacific Newspaper Group) in 1986, working first for The Province and moving to the Sun in 1991.

Graham is an award-winning column writer, has been a TV and radio commentator, and lecturer at the School of Journalism at the University of British Columbia. She is a member of the boards of Canadian Women in Communications and the National Newspaper Awards. She is a recipient of the Hadassah-WIZO Woman of Achievement Award.

Sue Hutchison (ScotiaBank Corporate Executives category)

Sue Hutchison (MBA ’97) is senior vice-president, head of commercial banking in British Columbia for HSBC Bank Canada.

Hutchison (left) spent 14 years with Bank of America in progressively senior positions in treasury and cash management before joining HSBC in 2005.

Active in the community, she is on the board of the Canadian Payments Association, national chair of the HSBC Women’s Network and a mentor with the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs. She has also served as a board member and volunteer with the Disabled Skiers Association of BC.

Barbara Orser (Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation Champions category)

Barbara Orser (MBA ’83) is a Deloitte Professor in the Management of Growth Enterprises at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management.

Orser (right) began her academic career at Carleton University and Ryerson Polytechnic University. Her research has focused on women’s contributions to the Canadian economy, on women’s entrepreneurship, enterprise growth, internationalization of small firms and small business policy. She is co-author of two business finance books, and a board member of Canadian Women in Technology.

Orser was founding program manager of the Conference Board of Canada’s Centre of Excellence for Women’s Advancement. She has served on the boards of the Canadian Council for Small Business & Entrepreneurship, the International Council for Small Business and the DIVA Foundation. She is also the founding chair of the Canadian Taskforce for Women’s Enterprise Growth.

The quality of her research and industry outreach activities have been recognized by many national and international organizations concerned with women in business.

Rose Reisman (Xstrata Nickel Trailblazers & Trendsetters category)

Rose Reisman (BA ‘77, MFA ‘82, MBA ‘85) is best known for her many cookbooks but has also written extensively on health and wellness, weight management, chronic disease prevention, childhood obesity, nutrition trends and fitness. Her engaging personality has influenced how Canadians live.

Reisman (left) is a popular speaker on TV and radio, a regular newspaper contributor, an owner of a catering company and a food delivery service, consultant to Canada’s leading food suppliers, restaurant consultant and, most recently, has opened her first restaurant, Glow. (Read the YorkU magazine profile.)

Her Art of Living Well website combines interactive and practical tools that users can draw on to achieve a healthier lifestyle. She is national spokesperson for Breakfast for Learning, wellness ambassador for the Canadian Diabetes Association and an adjunct professor in York’s Faculty of Health, where she helped found an advisory committee to promote public health and preventative care.

She has partnered with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Kruger (Sponge Towels), CIBC, McCain Foods Canada and the Running Room, and helped raise more than $1 million for research, education and treatment of breast cancer. She has also won awards for entrepreneurship and public contribution.

Catherine Riggall (Cisco Public Sector Leaders category)

Catherine Riggall (MBA ’77) is the vice-president, business affairs at the University of Toronto, where she is responsible for financial management, real estate and construction, facilities operations, services and ancillary services.

After graduating from York, Riggall (left) worked for Canada Trust and CIBC, and held several executive positions with Moore North America before she joined U of T in 2002 as assistant VP, facilities and services.

Riggall has served as a member and as president of the board of YWCA Toronto and currently serves as VP on the board of YWCA Canada.

Carol Wilding (Cisco Public Sector Leaders category)

Carol Wilding (BBA Hons. ’83) is president and CEO of the Toronto Board of Trade, Canada’s largest local chamber of commerce.

Under her leadership, the board has intensified its city-building efforts. Through such initiatives as the Scorecard on Prosperity, its newly established annual benchmarking study measuring Toronto’s performance against other great cities worldwide, Wilding has brought new focus and strength to the board’s policy and advocacy work.

Before joining the Toronto Board of Trade, Wilding was president of the Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation, and president and CEO of Foster Parents Plan of Canada (now Plan Canada).

Wilding (right) serves on the boards of the Royal Ontario Museum and Toronto City Summit Alliance, and advises the board of the Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation. She is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and served on the Mayor’s Economic Competitiveness Advisory Committee. In 2009, she was named a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario.

Wilding has won several awards, including the Schulich School of Business’ Outstanding Public Contribution Alumni Award, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal and the Public Sector Excellence Award for Technology.